NBA Rumors: Rubio, Boozer, T-Mac and more

Chad Ford writes about why Ricky Rubio is being so selective in his workouts.

First of all, the idea that Rubio is the only one doing it is silly. James Harden has only worked out for four teams. Even the Knicks couldn’t get him in. Hasheem Thabeet will likely only work out for three. DeMar DeRozan has been really selective, and so has Stephen Curry.

It’s pretty simple as to why Rubio is being selective: He is going to have to pay a lot of money for the privilege to play in the NBA next season. His buyout will cost him something between $5 and $7 million of his own money. That’s a lot of money, especially when you consider that Rubio wasn’t making a ton of dough in Spain. He essentially will be signing over his paychecks for the next couple of years to his team in Spain.

The Kings have an obvious hole at point guard on a young team. It seems to be the place his camp wants him to land. If the Kings draft him, I don’t think there’s any question that Rubio would pay the buyout and come. The question is, will the Kings draft him? I think the odds are in Rubio’s favor, but it sounds like some in the organization still need to be convinced.

Rubio’s future might depend on something he has no control over — is Russell Westbrook a point guard? A statistical study I did a few weeks ago revealed that he was turnover-prone and shoot-first, though obviously as a young rookie, there is room for improvement. If the Thunder think he’s a point guard, then I doubt they take Rubio. They’ll take James Harden, who averaged 4.2 assists during his senior year even though he was taking 13 shots per game.

Minnesota appears to be thinking point guard with the #6 pick…

Think the Timberwolves are looking for a point guard? They’ve got a huge workout today with most of the top point guard prospects attending. This morning Jonny Flynn, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Brandon Jennings, Jeff Teague and Nando De Colo are all grinding it out. Later in the afternoon, Tyreke Evans will be in the house.

However, the two guys highest on the Wolves’ radar aren’t there — Ricky Rubio and Stephen Curry.

I guess this answers the questions about Randy Foye. Either the T-Wolves a) don’t think he’s their point guard of the future or b) if he is a point guard, he isn’t good enough to warrant passing on a “franchise” point guard in this draft. He’s definitely of the shoot-first variety.

While it’s true that the T-Wolves are in a state of flux, I don’t know why a point guard would want to avoid the situation. Playing time shouldn’t be a problem, the team already has two good bigs in Al Jefferson and Kevin Love, and the franchise projects to have a ton of cap space next summer, enough to sign an impact wing (Joe Johnson?). Besides, it looks like the team might hire Mark Jackson as its head coach, so that should create a good environment for a young point guard. (I’m just happy that I won’t have to listen to him say “what people don’t understand” over and over in the broadcast booth.)

Don’t be surprised if the Rockets move T-Mac in the near future. Then again, don’t be surprised if they stand pat.

With as much as half the league looking to make cost-cutting moves, no team other than the few with cap space attracts more calls than the Rockets.

There was a snippet that the Rockets are shopping Tracy McGrady this week. The wording of that, however, is laughable. That’s like saying the producers of Law and Order are hoping to convince someone to put reruns of the show on cable television somewhere.

The Rockets are not shopping McGrady; they are picking up the phone when it rings, and it rarely stops ringing. (Teams always say that, but in this unusual case, because of McGrady’s contract and the financial climate, it happens to be true.)

Can the Rockets get a full season out of both Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming? If so, and if they retain Ron Artest, then they have a legitimate shot at representing the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. But that’s a big gamble. Neither T-Mac nor Yao have shown any ability to stay healthy for any length of time. The Rockets are in a position of power. They have McGrady’s huge contract and are willing to spend right now to compete for a championship. They might be able to make a deal with a team looking to unload a star with a big salary (Michael Redd? Rip Hamilton? Baron Davis?) who could help them get over the hump in the West.

The Pistons have apparently narrowed their list of priorities in free agency.

So far, the $30M-under-the-cap Pistons are said to have prioritized free agents Carlos Boozer, Ben Gordon, Turkoglu and Ariza. If they sign Gordon, doesn’t that mean Rip Hamilton has to go? If Allen Iverson didn’t fit or accept coming off the bench in back of Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey, why would Gordon work?

I wrote the other day about a possible Pistons’ promise to Ben Gordon, but I think Carlos Boozer should be their priority. If they were able to add him to a lineup of Stuckey, Hamilton and Prince, they’d be back in the upper echelon in the East, assuming Boozer can stay healthy. If they pass on Boozer hoping to land Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire next year, they run the risk of striking out completely.

Oh, and by the way, the Pistons are only $20 million under the cap, not $30 million. I’m not sure where Peter Vecsey is getting his numbers.

Don’t be surprised if Ricky Rubio is still playing in Spain come November.

Spain’s smart money says Ricky Rubio still will be in Europe come preseason 2009-10. His contract mess (being held as collateral for past club debts) is up to a judge to decide. A conciliatory meeting takes place June 23 before the adjudicator grants a court hearing sometime in the future, who knows when.

I’m sure whoever drafts him next week would like to have him for the 2009-10 season, but if he has to play another season or two in Spain, it shouldn’t stunt his development too much and the team would get a more polished player in his first season in the NBA.

Apparently, his visit with the Kings didn’t go all that well. He wasn’t able to work out due to illness.

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